If you work in the fields of education, health, wellness, leadership, mental health, social inclusion, or other helping or change making professions, you are focused on making things better for us all. Yet, over time, you might find that the busyness of your work, the rapid state of change, the cuts to budgets or staffing, or other items that quickly get onto the to do list, might keep you engaged in a lot of work, but might leave you questioning if your efforts are making a difference.
Even during those times when you know that your individual and collective efforts are making a difference, we often move quickly onto the next project without taking a moment to celebrate the many successes that are at hand. To address this need, to know that our work matters, to celebrate the many successes that are taking place, and to renew your individual and collective inspiration, simply ask this one important question at your next meeting: What is working?
How to use “What is working?” at your next meeting:
1. Set up the meeting room ahead of time, so when colleagues arrive, they are sitting in small teams, or next to a person they can work with. Ensure everyone has a pen and paper.
2. Display the question, “What is working?” on a whiteboard or projector.
3. Ask everyone to consider the team, organisation, or current projects or activities that people are engaging with, when answering the question.
4. Provide time for individuals to record their response/s to the question. Some folks will finish quickly, but with the silence and because others are still writing, often will come up with additional answers. Provide plenty of time for folks to really delve into their answers to the question.
5. When everyone is done writing, invite partners or small teams to share their individual answers with each other. Rather than read their responses, ask each person to talk through their answers to the question.
6. Invite individuals to share their answers with the entire group.
7. At the end, ask everyone to share with their partners what the collective answers to the question caused them to think about. Ask a few people to share their answers to the entire group.
Asking the question “What is working?” at the start or closing of a meeting, is an easy tool to help inspire and re-inspire each other for the important work you do for our world.